One of the reasons I wanted to start reading the flipping cards is because I would find out a card’s limitations in the heat of combat, a run, facing off against Sauron’s minions… And those limitations would have quite often been revealed if I’d spent more than 20 seconds looking at the art, 10 seconds reading the text and 2 minutes imagining the absolute best case and conflating it with the actual expected case.
Then experience would come along and teach me the actual case. Which would be universally shit. Not necessarily because the card was bad, but because it needed other cards or circumstances to make it shine.
So when I was setting out on building a Chaos Theory deck as part of my revised progrunning project, I came across this card and immediately started to have dreams of hitting up R&D like it was going out of fashion, pillaging the plans of the Corp and generally all round living the high life. Let’s see how it all ends, eh?
But first the card…
No errata applies to this card.
Unpacking Data Breach
The card costs a single click to play as a zero-cost event and allows two runs on R&D for that click, if the first run is successful.
There’s no effect that modifies those runs so the normal rules apply: you encounter all of the ice as you would do normally and you access a single card. You also can’t use that second run in conjunction with another event card, such as Maker’s Eye as there’s no click being paid to initiate the second run. It’s not compatible with Keyhole either as that requires a click to trigger, so there’ll be no double-keyhole runs with this card.
So, if you paid 6 credits to get through to access R&D and had a butcher’s at the Corp’s next ice they were going to pull, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to want to pay that 6 credits again just to admire the artwork on the card. Fortunately the second run is elective, so you don’t need to indulge…
…But wouldn’t those card slots be better used with an action that lets you advance your board state more effectively?
And that’s the heart of why I think that the card can be a bit of a trap. A click-less run on R&D feels pretty cool; let’s face it that’s where the agendas are likely to be right? Yeah, but then the Corp knows that and tends not to leave R&D open so this card could tempt the runner into making uneconomic runs that don’t advance their position as much as the other options would.
What makes the card better?
What does make the card worth including is support to grant increasing multi-access to R&D such as Medium, or the ability to offset the cost of running R&D such as a Temujin Contract pointed there. Preferably I would want to have both of these available to offset the downsides of the second run.
Other cards are available that mitigate the cost of running, or that provide additional benefits from running, but remember they can’t have their own triggering costs.
Cards that give insight into whether the run is worth it, such as Spy Cameras, help make sure there’s bang for the buck and anything that generates tokens from a successful run has just generated twice as many tokens through this card. Datasucker, Turning Wheel etc all like the presence of this card, but is it worth the deck slot and the cost to break ice for a counter on those cards?
Ice destruction also makes the card better, by reducing the cost of the second run and not granting the Corp the ability to replace the ice on the server before it engages. But that also requires the top card to be something removable in any case as well.
If the Corp is heavy on assets that would help the card as these are usually trashable, granting a new access second time around. There are two downsides to this: firstly, the runner’s spent the money getting through, secondly it might be more effective to let the Corp pay the cost to rez the asset before it gets trashed. Trashing from R&D is the equivalent of saving the Corp money and also headspace to plan to have the asset available to further their plan.
This heavily depends upon the Corp’s ID, the asset and the boardstate though.
What makes this card worse?
The lack of the cards that make it better! All on its lonesome its basically relies upon the runner have economy that they’re not doing anything else with and chancing upon a card that can be stolen, trashed or otherwise removed on their first run.
If you’re going to be running deep Medium digs, whilst loaded with cash that’s burning a hole in your pocket then this card might be worth considering. But that feels like a big ask to me.
Sure when you run in a lightly defended R&D, trash a Jackson and then run again and trash a Sensie you’ll be feeling pretty smug. But how often is that going to happen and is it worth trusting your resources to that win condition?
For my part, answering that question is the most important: how confident are you that you’ve got the cash and something to grant the second access? Followed up by, are the times it whiffs worth the times it wins spectacularly?
Answer those questions and you know how you rate this card!